Parents now have an additional reason to refuse sweets, cakes and ice cream to young children. The US government issued the first infant and young child dietary guidelines on Tuesday, recommending breastfeeding only for at least six months, and no sugar for children under 2 years old.
Barbara Schneeman, a nutritionist at the University of California, Davis, said: “It’s never too early to start.” “In the early years, you have to do everything you can.”
The guide does not provide two important recommendations for scientists to advise the government. These consultants stated in July that everyone should limit their sugar intake to less than 6% of calories, while men should limit their alcohol intake to one drink a day.
Instead, the code adheres to previous recommendations:
- After the age of 2, the daily sugar added should be limited to less than 1
- Men’s daily alcohol intake should not exceed two glasses, which is twice the recommended amount for women.
“I don’t think we have finished drinking,” said Schneemann, who chaired the committee to recommend government guidelines. “We need to learn more.”
The dietary guidelines are issued every five years by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Health and Human Services. The government uses them to set standards for school lunches and other programs. Some important points:
Introduce peanuts and other allergens to babies
The guidelines say that babies must wait at least six months before they can drink breast milk. If there is no breast milk, iron-fortified infant formula should be taken within the first year. Vitamin D supplementation should be started soon after the baby is born.
Babies can start eating other foods after about 6 months and should be introduced with other foods into foods that may cause allergies.
The guidelines say: “Introducing peanut-containing foods in the first year can reduce the risk of infants developing food allergies to peanuts.”
For pregnant and lactating women, there are more recommendations than previous guidelines. In order to promote healthy brain development in babies, these women should eat 8 to 12 ounces of seafood a week. They should make sure to choose fish (such as cod, salmon, sardines, and tilapia) that have low mercury content, which can harm the nervous system of children.
According to the guidelines, pregnant women should not drink alcohol, while breastfeeding women should be cautious. A moderate amount of caffeine seems to be safe, and women can discuss it with a doctor.
Source of added sugar
Most Americans do not follow the best nutrition advice, leading to obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Many of the new suggestions sound familiar: Put fruits and vegetables on the plate, and cut down on sweets, saturated fat, and sodium.
The guidelines suggest some small changes to add up: replace frosted grains with regular shredded wheat. Choose low-sodium canned black beans. Drink soda instead of soda.
There is an app that helps people follow the guidelines on the government’s My Plate website.
The biggest sources of added sugar in the typical American diet are:
- Soda and other sugary drinks
- Desserts, snacks, candies
- Sweet coffee and tea
These foods contribute very little nutrition, so the guidelines put forward restrictions.
There is information on added sugar on the “nutrition facts” label of packaged foods. The label also has information about saturated fat and sodium.